(photo credit: Galit Samuel)
By staging an amateur photography competition in northwest Tel Aviv’s Tel Baruch
neighborhood, local activists say they hope to save the rare flora and fauna
there from commercial building projects.
Residents have banned together
to battle a portion of Building Plan 3700 for their city, which calls for
massive development and construction in the open spaces of northwest Tel Aviv,
extending from the Herzliya border in the north to Sde Dov Airport to the
Among the development plans are over 12,000 housing units, parking
lots, shopping centers and transportation arteries, the group
While the residents do not object the plan as a whole, they
are asking that a small sliver west of Road 2040 be removed from the project
outline. Led by attorney Galit Samuel and social activist Alon Sigler, the
activists argue that the sands there are rife with rare species of flora and
fauna and a “green lung” for all residents of Gush Dan.
“It is necessary
to preserve this as a open natural area for the benefit of the wider public and
to declare it as a nature reserve, as has been done in many big cities around
the world – while relinquishing accompanying development that is not critical to
relieving the housing shortage,” the activists said in a statement.
plans are currently in the appeal stage at the National Committee for Planning
and Building, and the residents have until March 14 to submit their complaints –
after which the committee will make its final decision, activist Hadas Marshall
told The Jerusalem Post.
“I was shocked because it’s really close to my
heart. It’s a really beautiful place,” Marshall said. “Most citizens of Tel Aviv
don’t really know it’s going on.”
The Tel Baruch coastal ridge area
contains over 200 species of unique plants and animals that are endemic to the
sands there, a region that is one of the only natural places left in Tel Aviv,
according to Marshall.
“It’s really important for the next generation
because they deserve to know what was here before,” she said.
plans call for 60 percent of the disputed territory to become a green park –
with the rest becoming commercial centers and underground parking – the group of
residents have argued that grass will not be a habitable substitute for the
sand-dwelling creatures that live in Tel Baruch.
“We have tons of parks
with grass in Tel Aviv,” Marshall said.
“We’re saying develop but develop
smartly,” she continued.
“Don’t just build, build, build. We don’t need a
shopping mall on the beach.”
The photography competition, which has an
open enrollment to all artists, will allow participants to relate to the rest of
the city how beautiful the area is, Marshall explained.
will come to the area this Friday, between 12 and 4 p.m., and the winning photos
will hang on café walls throughout the city.
Judging the competition will
be some of the nation’s top photographers, including Giora Salmi, Yossi Eshbol,
Eyal Bartov, Yuval Dax and Osnat Krasnanski, the group said.
“We want to
show everyone that it’s such a beautiful place and there are lots of things to
conserve,” Marshall added.